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WHO requires all countries to increase taxes on alcohol and sweet water: what has already been planned in Ukraine

Kseniya KapustynskaNews
Sugary drinks to be taxed in Ukraine
Sugary drinks to be taxed in Ukraine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on governments around the world to raise taxes on alcohol and sugary drinks (SSB). The organization estimates that as of 2023, most countries in the world do not use taxes to promote healthy lifestyles, and demands that this be corrected. Ukraine is acting in line with the WHO's plans: our country is going to not only increase the cost of alcohol but also introduce a tax on sweet water.

According to the WHO, every year 2.6 million people worldwide die from alcohol-related causes, and more than 8 million die from unhealthy diets. The introduction of an excise tax not only on alcohol, but also on SSBs will help reduce these deaths, the WHO believes.

SSBs are defined as all beverages with added sugar. In particular, these include non-diet sodas, flavored juice drinks, sports drinks, sweetened tea, coffee drinks with sugar, energy drinks, etc.

"Half of all countries that have taxes on SSBs also have taxes on water, which is not recommended by the WHO. Despite the fact that 108 countries tax some type of sugar-sweetened beverage, worldwide, on average, consumer taxes amount to only 6.6% of the price of carbonated beverages," the report says.

As for alcohol, at least 148 countries have introduced excise taxes on alcoholic beverages. However, wine is exempt from excise taxes in 22 countries. On average, the share of excise tax in the price of beer is 17.2%, and 26.5% for other popular alcoholic beverages.

"Taxation of unhealthy products contributes to public health. This has a positive impact on the whole society - less illness and exhaustion, and governments receive revenues to provide public services," said Rüdiger Krech, Director of the WHO Department of Health Promotion.

Taxes on harmful products: what is already planned in Ukraine

Ukraine is already planning to introduce a tax on sweet and carbonated drinks. It is an excise tax of 0.1 euros (about 4 UAH) for each liter of beverage. However, they want to tax not only drinks with sugar, but also those with other sweeteners and flavoring substances.

"Taxes on the consumption of added sugar or various types of restrictions are in place in 107 countries. This is a global practice that is fully supported by the WHO. And the Ministry of Health supports it," the Ministry of Health of Ukraine said.

In Latvia, such a tax was introduced in 2002, and in Poland - in April 2021 (0.15 euros for each liter of sugary drink). The mechanism of the tax on sugary carbonation can be very different. But it all boils down to the fact that the costs of producers increase, which means that the price of the product also increases. The war has limited the popularity of such drinks. For example, Latvia has one of the lowest consumption rates of carbonated beverages in Europe.

In addition, Ukraine wants to raise minimum prices for alcoholic beverages. These are the prices below which alcohol cannot be sold. Thus, the prices of the cheapest vodka are proposed to be increased by 5-13%, wine products (except for sparkling and carbonated wine drinks) - by 40-85%, and sparkling wines and carbonated wine drinks - by 12%.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, Ukraine is also preparing a new European-style tax.  Some types of business will have to pay it.

Only verified information is available on the OBOZ.UA Telegram channel and Viber. Do not fall for fakes!

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